The Pinot Noir Mission

I’m on a mission….

I’ve never been a Pinot Noir fan.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it was the name, or the preconceived notion that it was pretentious.  Or maybe…just maybe, it was the taste.  I’ve learned quite a bit about this grape that is so difficult to grow, and I’ve gained more respect for this thin skinned grape. My mission is this:  Find a great drinking Pinot Noir for under 25 bucks….which so far, has YET to happen!  Any Pinot Noir worth its salt is gonna cost you…somewhere between $65-$80 for sure. (at least that’s what I have found…)

The Burgundy region of France is considered the creme de la creme of the Pinot Noir world.  And now, Oregon is holding their own with this grape and is becoming the Burgundy of the United States.  A bold statement to be sure, but Oregon has proved that they can grow this grape, and I can attest to this.  I’ve tasted some pretty outstanding Oregon Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley.  And they weren’t under 25 bucks either…

Quail’s Gate Winery
Okanagan Valley, BC
2010 Pinot Noir,
$20.99- Costco

My latest Pinot Noir tasting came in the form of a Canadian from the Okanagan Valley. Quail’s Gate Winery to be exact, which, according to the website, is one of the leading producers of Pinot Noir in Canada.  This is their “flagship wine”, believing that this region (in Canada) is the most ideally suited to growing the grape. The description of their wine is really quite enticing. “…we ensure that our wines exhibit rich complex fruit flavours that are reminiscent of classic Burgundy wines while showcasing the added elegance of New World wine making techniques. Made to be elegant with grace and finesse, this wine is made for wine lovers who desire a sophisticated style of Pinot Noir.”  And I paid $21 for this wine!  How excited am I?

Visually, this wine looked great!  Garnet in colour with a watery edge, I expected an easy drinking wine to be sure. Oh, by the way, Pinot Noirs are one of those nice wines that you don’t need to pair with food necessarily, they can be fantastic on their own, if they are good!  That is what I mean by an “easy drinking wine”.  However, the classic pairings for this fine grape include West Coast salmon and grilled lamb with rosemary.

On the nose, I got some of that Pinot Noir fruit such as blueberries and strawberries, but I also got the classic “deli” smells of the French oak that it is aged in for up to 11 months.  Wonderful tastes of blueberries, acai berries, and cassis with soft, medium tannins. I thought this wine was just “ok”, not outstanding or stellar.  Lyndsey, my husband didn’t like it at all!   This was the 2008 vintage, which according the website, can be aged nicely. And since it was opened in 2012, it WAS aged a bit, although probably not as much as it could’ve been.  I’ll know for next time and buy two bottles!

Maybe when I go visit my parents at Easter on the west coast, I’ll insist on the salmon…shouldn’t be too difficult to get there! And I just may have to splurge on a bottle of Pinot Noir.  I am after all, on a mission…

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